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August 2011

July 2011

Newsmax: GOP, Obama Reach $2 Trillion Debt Deal

Republicans and Democrats in Congress reached agreement with President Barack Obama to raise the limit on U.S. borrowing and forestall an unprecedented American default, marking the start in the final chapter of one of the nastiest and divisive episodes in recent American political history. 

Shortly after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his Republican counterpart, minority leader Mitchell McConnell, endorsed the plan on the Senate floor, Obama went to the White House press room to add his support for the deal. It meets one of his key demands, raising borrowing power sufficiently to keep the partisan poison pill from returning to the national agenda until after the 2012 election. It does not include any tax increases that Obama had pressed hard for to include.

Read more on GOP, Obama Reach $2 Trillion Debt Deal to Avert Default
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Santorum Continues Family Tour Across Iowa

Rick_santorum URBANDALE, IA - Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) and his family will continue the "Courage to Fight for American Values" tour of Iowa, crisscrossing Iowa to meet with Iowans from all corners of the state as well as take part in many of the summer family traditions Iowa has to offer. The Santorum family began their journey on July 26th and will tour Iowa through the August 13th Ames Straw Poll.

Sunday, July 31 
4:30pm CT: Senator Santorum will host a town hall meeting in Oskaloosa, IA.
Location: Kiwanis Shelter at Edmundson Park

Monday, August 1
8:00am CT: Senator Santorum will host a town hall meeting in Washington, IA.
Location: Washington Public Library, 115 West Washington Street

10:00am CT: Senator Santorum will host a town hall meeting in Muscatine, IA.
Location: Elly's Tea and Coffee House, 208 West 2nd Street, #A

3:00pm CT: Senator Santorum will host a town hall meeting in Davenport, IA.
Location: Fairmount Street Library, 3000 North Fairmount Street

5:30pm CT: Senator Santorum will host a town hall meeting in Clinton, IA.
Location: Clinton Public Library, Children's Department, 306 8th Avenue South

Tuesday, August 2
8:00am CT: Senator Santorum will host a town hall meeting in Indianola, IA.
Location: Corner Sundry Store, 101 North Buxton Street

9:30am CT: Senator Santorum will appear live in-studio with Jan Mickelson of WHO Radio. To listen live, please go to:

11:30am CT: Senator Santorum will host a town hall meeting in Perry, IA.
Location: Perry Public Library, 1101 Willis Avenue

1:30pm CT: Senator Santorum will host a town hall meeting in Jefferson, IA.
Location: Jefferson Public Library, 200 West Lincolnway Street

3:30pm CT: Senator Santorum will host a town hall meeting in Carroll, IA.
Location: Swan Lake Conservation & Education Center, Wapiti Room, 22676 Swan Lake Drive

6:00pm CT: Senator Santorum will host a town hall meeting in Atlantic, IA.
Location: Allen House Assisted Living, Activities Center, 1406 E. 19th

Wednesday, August 3
8:00am CT: Senator Santorum will host a town hall meeting in Council Bluffs, IA.
Location: Tish's Restaurant, 1207 South 35th Street

10:10am CT: Senator Santorum will host a town hall meeting in Harlan, IA.
Location:  Iowa Western Community College, 1901 Hawkeye Avenue, Suite 102

1:15pm CT: Senator Santorum will host a town hall meeting in Ida Grove, IA.
Location:  Ida Grove Pharmacy, 506 2nd Street

3:00pm CT: Senator Santorum will host a town hall meeting in Cherokee, IA.
Location:  Danny's Sport Spot, 1013 South 2nd

5:30pm CT: Senator Santorum will be the special guest at a house party hosted by Emily Waund in Sanborn, IA.
Location:  Home of Emily Waund, 6010 320th Street

Thursday, August 4:
8:00am CT: Senator Santorum will host a town hall meeting in Rock Rapids, IA.
Location:  Sully's Grill, 215 First Avenue

10:15am CT: Senator Santorum will host a town hall meeting in Orange City, IA.
Location:  Orange City Public Library, 112 Albany Avenue, SE

12:30pm CT: Senator Santorum will host a town hall meeting in Sioux City, IA.
Location:  Western Iowa Tech Community College, Room L 416-417, Parking Lot 3 - Entrance 11, 4647 Stone Avenue

6:00pm CT: Senator Santorum will address the Public Educators of Iowa (PEI) 30th Anniversary Event.
Location:  Jordan Creek Holiday Inn, 6075 Mills Civic Parkway

Friday, August 5:
10:30am CT: Senator Santorum will host a town hall meeting in Marshalltown, IA.
Location:  Marshalltown Public Library Café, 105 West Boone Street

1:00pm CT: Senator Santorum will hold a town hall meeting in Newton, IA.
Location:  Newton YMCA, Studio A, 1701 South 8th Avenue E

2:45pm CT: Senator Santorum will host a town hall meeting in Grinnell, IA.
Location:  Drake Public Library, Community Room, 930 Park Street

5:00pm CT: Senator Santorum will address the Eastern Iowa 2nd Congressional District Rally in Tiffin, IA.
Location:  Clear Creek - Amana High School, 551 West Marengo

Saturday, August 6:
10:00am CT: Senator Santorum will host a town hall meeting in Altoona, IA.
Location:  Hy-Vee, 2nd Floor Meeting Room, 108 8th Street, SW

4:00pm CT: Senator Santorum will be the featured guest at the "Road to Ames Iowa Barn Bash" hosted by Scott & Susan Hurd in Roland, IA.
Location:  Home of Scott & Susan Hurd, 3275 400th Street

To learn more about former Senator Rick Santorum, please visit

30% Say Obama Too Confrontational, Highest Since Health Care Debate

The number of voters who see President Obama's leadership style as too confrontational has reached its highest level since the health care issue was front and center.  A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 30% of Likely U.S. Voters describe the president’s leadership style as too confrontational, up nine points from 21% a month ago and the highest finding since March 2010.


Iowa GOP State Central Committee Announces Straw Poll Ballot

9 candidates included on the ballot for the August 13 event

DES MOINES, IA. -- With the Iowa Straw Poll just three weeks away, The Iowa GOP State Central Committee today released the ballot for the 2011 poll, scheduled to take place August 13 on the campus of Iowa State University.  The final ballot was decided at the 3rd quarter public meeting of the Committee.

Those who reserved space at the Straw Poll were guaranteed to be on the ballot. Candidates who reserved space includeCongresswoman Michelle Bachman, Herman Cain, Congressman Thaddeus McCotter, Congressman Ron Paul, Governor Tim Pawlenty and Senator Rick Santorum.

In addition to those who reserved space, Speaker Newt Gingrich, Governor Jon Huntsman and Governor Mitt Romney were included on the ballot. A write-in option will also be available. 

The Iowa Straw Poll rules, including the ballot finalization process, were passed by the State Central Committee at the 2nd quarter meeting. The Iowa GOP extended invites to an exhaustive list of candidates and potential candidates to attend two meetings outlining the rules prior to the land allocation meeting on June 23.

During a similar meeting in the 2007, the State Central Committee added Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Senator John McCain and Senator Fred Thompson to the ballot that included each of the candidates who reserved space. (Governor Mitt Romney, Governor Mike Huckabee, Senator Sam Brownback, Congressman Tom Tancredo, Congressman Ron Paul, Governor Tommy Thompson, Congressman Duncan Hunter and John Cox).

Obama Has Destroyed the Economy in 2-1/2 Years

"If the specifics of Obama's plan are so great -- if he really thinks taking it to the American people wins reelection and takes him back to 60% approval -- he'd be doing it.  But he's not, because he knows what all liberals know: If they're honest about what their intentions are, they lose." ~ Rush Limbaugh

Former Congressional Candidate Ben Lange Endorses Rick Santorum for President

VERONA, PA. -- Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) announced today the endorsement of Ben Lange, former conservative Republican congressional candidate from Iowa's 1st Congressional District.

Lange gained national attention in 2010 by winning a four-way Republican primary in IA-1 by 30 points, the largest margin of victory in modern times. Lange nearly pulled off one of the biggest political upsets of the 2010 midterms, falling a mere 4,200 votes short against Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) in a heavily Democratic district and without national Republican assistance. A lifelong Iowan, Lange was the first member of his family to graduate college and now owns his own legal practice in Iowa.

"Conservatives are hungry for a candidate with the ability to articulate conservative principles, apply those principles to the serious economic problems we now face, and ultimately lead a national conservative movement," said Ben Lange. "Senator Santorum has proven he can lead on the national stage, having fought for and won key battles for the conservative movement. As my fellow Iowans learn more about Sen. Santorum and all that he has achieved, I believe they will find the candidate they have been looking for. I look forward to working with the Senator and his campaign to win the Iowa Caucuses."

"I had the great opportunity to campaign for Ben and get to know him and his wonderful family last fall. The Lange Family epitomizes Iowa's principles of hard work and traditional family values. I am honored to have the support of this rising conservative star," said Senator Santorum.

The President’s Latest Scare Tactic Targets Seniors and Veterans

Washington, D.C. – House Republican Policy Committee Chairman Tom Price, M.D. (R-GA) issued the following statement regarding President Obama’s threats as the debt negotiations continue.
“President Obama, the last to join the debt discussions in Washington, has now threatened the denial of Social Security checks and payments to veterans should Congress and the White House not reach a deal before August 2.  These scare tactics are reckless and irresponsible,” said Chairman Price.  “This threat comes from the same president who has accused Congress of not taking these negotiations seriously and has explicitly spoken out against using scare tactics.  The fact is that the government has the money to pay the interest on the debt and cover other expenses.  Should President Obama choose not to send these checks to seniors and veterans, that will be his decision and the harm that comes from those actions will be his responsibility.  House Republicans have been more than willing to participate in an honest conversation about our debt.  As the President engages in such reckless scare tactics, it is difficult to reach a positive solution to these very serious and looming issues.  I call on President Obama to drop the empty rhetoric and threats to seniors and veterans and begin a serious conversation with Republicans about how to actually solve our debt crisis – one that does not rely on unrealistic tax increases that would cripple economic recovery and job creation.”

UI Nursing professor uses Harry Potter books to build 'genetic literacy'

Harry_potter As the final installment in J. K. Rowling's infamous Harry Potter series ("The Deathly Hallows – Part 2") hits the big screen this weekend, moviegoers may be unaware that some of the wizardly wonders found in and around Hogwarts have actually produced real-world learning tools for some of today's top medical researchers.

Dr. Martha Driessnack, an assistant professor and clinical genetics researcher at the University of Iowa College of Nursing, has been working with children across many different sub-specialties and health care settings for more than 25 years.

Driessnack said she was instantly drawn to the Harry Potter books and quickly realized the potential to use them as a teaching tool in hopes of building genetic literacy. For instance, the character of Hermione illustrates the idea of recessive genes because both her parents were "muggles" (mortals) who nevertheless produced a child wizard. Meanwhile, caretaker Argus Filch has no magical power despite the fact that both his parents did – possibly a case, Driessnack said, of incomplete penetrance of a gene.

"I learned about the books from children I was working with and then just loved the story," she said. "The genetics connection really began when a mom asked me how to answer her child's question about having the 'trait' for cystic fibrosis." Soon thereafter, Driessnack published a case study, "Growing Up at the Intersection of the Genomic Era and the Information Age," which discusses explaining the inheritance of such a serious medical condition using the Harry Potter series.

Driessnack said that the books introduce children to basic and advanced genetic concepts. For example, in a recent study exploring children's developing ideas about disease causation, risk, and inheritance, all of the children she interviewed were "familiar with Harry Potter; and, using their own words, all could explain autosomal recessive inheritance, incomplete penetrance, and variable expressivity, as well as the genetic discrimination" (something experienced by "half-blood" characters in the series).

Not surprisingly, Driessnack, a 2010-11 Collegiate Teaching Award-winner, focuses a good deal of her current research on what children know about genetics and how they come to know it. When "The Deathly Hallows – Part 2" opens Friday, she recommends looking for the genetic concepts weaved throughout the story.

In addition to genetic undertones, Driessnack highlights the importance of characters like Madam Pomfrey, who provide children with a contemporary nurse role model. "Like most pediatric nurses, she is a child advocate and confidant who approaches her professional calling seriously. While she was able to re-grow Harry's bones, fix his skull fracture, as well as undo curses and spells, she also was front and center when Harry needed emotional care after a classmate's death," she explained.

While you probably will not see Madam Pomfrey in this latest Harry Potter film, Dr. Driessnack predicts her presence will still be felt, "just like most pediatric nurses, who quietly make a difference every day, one child at a time."

Plaxico wants Bears; do Bears want Plaxico?

While free-agent wide receiver Plaxico Burress thinks he would be a great fit in Chicago, multiple sources have told the Sun-Times that the Bears would only be interested in the former New York Giants playmaker at a bargain basement price, if at all.

Burress told WMVP (AM-1000) on Tuesday that the Bears will be one of this top three destinations when the lockout ends. While Burress would seem to fit the Bears need of a bigger, play-making receiver, he was recently freed after serving almost two years for carrying an unlicensed gun after accidentally shooting himself in the leg in a New York night club. As if character concerns, inactivity and his age (he turns 34 next month) weren't enough to worry about, Burress is not known for running the type of precise routes required in offensive coordinator Mike Martz's offense.

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